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tv   Nightline  ABC  September 28, 2009 11:35pm-12:05am EDT

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an alleged holdup, but this time the shop owner fights back. killing two suspects with a shotgun. so was he right or was he wrong? thou shalt not steal is the latest in the series "the ten commandments". the fugitives. roman polanski on the run for a child rape conviction more than 30 years ago. tonight, how the horrific murder of his pregnant wife sharon tate shaped a life marked by scandal and success. plus, how to do everything. the perfect kiss, changing a tire, even your own backyard biergarten. while learning to do the oddest things online is tonight's "sign of the times". captions paid for by abc, inc. tonight on "nightline," make my day. an alleged holdup, but this time the shop owner fights back. killing two suspects with a shotgun. so was he right or was he wrong? thou shalt not steal is the latest in the series "the ten commandments". the fugitives. polanski on good evening.
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it's a biblical command that is effortlessly broken every day. from taking home company stationery to shoplifting from major department stores the commandment thou shalt not steal no longer seems to carry much force. what if somebody tried to steal from you personally, would you be prepared to fight back? well, tonight meet a shop owner who felt compelled to defend himself with tragic consequences. was he a hero or did his actions only compound the original sin? my co-anchor cynthia mcfadden now reports for the latest installment of our series "the ten commandments". >> it happens all over the country. and the result can be seen all over the internet. people fighting back against those who violate the eighth commandment. thou shalt not steal. in phoenix, a jewelry store owner fights back against two robbers who have used mace to try to subdue him.
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in washington, a clerk resists an attempted robbery with the robber's own weapon. this summer it happened here in new york on 125th street in harlem, home of the famed apollo theater and the lesser known blue flame supply company. >> it was a boring day. >> where 72-year-old coast guard veteran charles augusto, jr., known as gus, has worked for 50 years. gus now owns the place. >> all of a sudden i look up and i see another man with a heavy winter sweatshirt on. i mean, a hood or his head. and it's 90 degrees outside. i look at his hand and he's pointing at the girl in my office. >> so the guy with the gun -- >> he's standing right where you are. he has the left hand, i think. >> he doesn't see you? >> no, he doesn't know i'm here.
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he's threatening her, where's the money? i'm sitting here, i said, hey, kid, he got startled, jumped up. he was waving the gun back and forth. >> between the two of you? >> yeah, he didn't know what to. i said, there's no money. nobody bought anything today. >> so he gets in here -- >> another of augusto's employees who goes by the name of jay was being pistol whipped at the front door. now things are about to go from bad to worse. >> if jay didn't put up a fight, that guy would be standing right here with the guns, sooner or later they would have subdued jay. coldn't have -- i couldn't have done anything. >> because he left, you got to the gun? >> that's right. he made a mistake. >> a mistake that would cost him his life. left alone while the first robber went to help subdue jay, augusto reached for a gun he bought 20 years ago after he had been robbed at gun point.
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>> i mean, the kids have gun, oh, christ, they didn't fire, bye-bye gus. they were going to shoot me. >> what gus did next would change his life forever and the lives of four young men who would also make national headlines. a conflict between values that he wouldn't even time to reflect on, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill. >> i couldn't let them keep pistol whipping this kid down there, so i stepped out in the aisle and i watched jay so i wouldn't hit him with the shotgun, i fired off three rounds, bang bang bang. i saw that the -- there were still three standing, the other one was on the ground dead. i saw the other three trying to get out the door. they had the door open, they were trying to get out. so i didn't shoot no more. >> but the three shots gus fired were enough to kill two of the men, 29-year-old james morgan
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and 21-year-old raylin footman. the other two, shamel mccloud and bernard witherspoon were injured and pled not guilty. it got us to wonder if there's similarities between this and the shooting of bernard goetz who 25 years ago also shot four young black men in new york city. nobody is talking's race. >> race is not in this case. i wonder where al sharpton is who's always screaming about the things. hey, gus, you did a great thing from saving these thugs from the black guys and -- >> what about bernard goetz? >> i remember him. he was a vigilante. >> that was not the circumstance? >> he went out looking for trouble and he shot people after he didn't have to anymore. that's a different situation. once the threat is gone, you don't keep shooting them.
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you only do it to protect your life and the lives of the people around you. anybody else is a vigilante, that's right. >> so augusto wassed a plant he never want -- adamant he never wanted trouble, he is believing in the right to bear arms. >> the laws are too strict. i think law abading citizens should be able to have weapons. if they commit a crime with the weapon i think the penalty should be severe. way more severe than they are right now, but they should have a right to do it. all the people understand it's brute force. they're not afraid of the police. they're not afraid of the law. only brute force. >> but despite his tough talk, agusto says he struggles every day with what he did. was it hard? >> of course it was hard. i was sick, i couldn't eat for days. i'm sure next time it will be easier. >> how do you feel? >> i still feel lousy. >> even though you feel you ha no choice?
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>> i did the right thing. i'll do it again under the same circumstances but i'll feel lousy. it is very hard to kill somebody. >> even he says someone who may have been trying to kill you. augusto says his son committed suicide several years ago, and that he feels for the dead men's families. >> they have to feel lousy. i know it's very painful to lose a son but i'll tell you the pain i felt when my son died didn't compare to the pain i felt when i had to kill the two boys. my son, i didn't do it to him. here, i had to do it to them. until you do it you won't know that. >> letters of support for gus have come in from all over and a local newspaper has offered him the liberty award, but he has declined. do you feel like a hero? >> you know, i don't know if i'm a hero. i would have really felt like a hero if the boys went home.
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but i can understand why people say that. they're threatened by the people and are abused and afrd to take action. when someone takes action it makes them say i wish i did that. it's not easy being a hero. it's sad. >> a shop owner who took justice into his own hands. our thanks to cynthia mcfadden. when we come back, from a wife murdered by the manson family, to his arrest this weekend for a child rape it has been 40 turbulent years in the life of roman polanski. hi, may i help you? we're shopping for car insurance, and our friends said we should start here. good friends -- we compare our progressive direct rates, apples to apples, against other top companies, to help you get the best price. how do you do that?
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the real life and times of roman polanski would probably defy the most creative
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screenwriter. in 1969 his pregnant wife and actress sharon tate was murdered along with four others by the charles manson family. then eight years later, polanski mself was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl and he fled before sentencing and now, four decades later he's in custody in switzerland and facing an uncertain future as nick watt reports. >> roman polanski generates such interest, his arrest is such big news, not just because of his work. but because of his life. >> roman has lived a life much more complicated and tragic than most of us can even imagine. >> if i were making a picture of myself, i would start with my childhood. you know, which made me what i am today. >> polanski, a jew, escaped the krakow ghetto in 1943 and was sheltered by catholic families.
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his mother was killed at auschwitz. >> she went to the gas practically immediately after she was taken. i didn't know until the end of the war, world war ii. >> after the war, polanski studied film in poland and was nominated for an academy award in 1964. hollywood beckoned. he married the actress sharon tate. life was good. then, in 1969, tate and the couple's unborn son were murdered by followers of charles manson. >> it all started so long ago. my real problems started then. marrying sharon tate. i was all right with the press before that. they wouldn't let it go. just wouldn't let it go. >> devastated, polanski threw himself into work.
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his masterpiece "chinatown" was released in 1974. then three years later, polanski photographed 13-year-old samantha geimer for a magazine. >> actually it went fine, but then he asked me to like change and change in front of him and stuff. it didn't feel right. i didn't want to go to the second shoot. i didn't at that time have like self-confidence to tell my mother and everyone no, i'm not going to go. we did photos of me drinking champagne, he was friendly and then before the very end i got a little scary and i realized that, you know, he had some other intentions. >> but she went and according to prosecutors polanski gave her alcohol and drugs, then raped her. >> i know now it was not the right thing to do. but it was -- there was no premeditation. it was something that just happened. >> polanski cut a deal.
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he pled guilty to one of the six charges against him and went to jail for psychological evaluation. but he feared the judge was going to back out of the plea deal. >> going back to prison seemed to me completely upsetting. i would rather -- i would rather blow my brains than do that. and i thought that another alternative was to get out of that. >> he fled to france and lived an open and very public life ever since. last year, polanski launched a legal challenge in california in courts to have the charges against him dropped. >> well, they are serious chges and he also did time. roman was incarcerated for 42 days and the case was to have been ended at that moment. >> his victim samantha geimer reached a settlement with the director and says she's forgiven him. >> i knew it was as bad for him as it was for me. i'm sure he would don't it again. >> for the past 30 years,
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polanski has purposely avoided any country that he feared might extradite him to the u.s. he thought he was pretty safe here in switzerland. he has been a regular visitor and for the past ten years he's even owned a house here. so for polanski, it's a huge surprise to find himself sitting in a swiss jail. this is how it happened. last week investigators in l.a. noticed on the zurich film festival website that polanski was to receive an award sunday night. they asked swiss police to arrest him at the airport. and polanski walked into the trap. the reaction to his arrest has been mixed but many want him freed. french government has petitioned hillary clinton to grant him clemency. some things in life are sacred, and some people have amazing qualities and have done incredible things in their lives. debra winger, the member of the zurich festival panel, she had this to say. >> we stand by and await his
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release and he next master work. >> the los angeles district attorney's office has hunted him since then. he has slipped through canada and thailand and israel and twice in britain and now they finally have him. >> the individuals want this case resved for a long time and on his terms. except this is going to be on the terms of the l.a. county justice system. not his terms. >> well, not so fast. there could be more twists and turns. polanski is fighting extradition. >> he's strong. he's a survivor. he's going to get through this. he h important work to do. he needs to get home. >> i'm nick watt for "nightline" in zurich. >> certainly not the view held by prosecutors in los angeles. our thanks to nick watt. when we me back, a do it yourself biergarten at the click of a mouse. we go behind the scenes on
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howcast in tonight's "sign of the times". hey fly free. you know other airlines charge up to 20 bucks for the first bag. and 30 for the second. roundtrip, that's almost 100 dollars. that's crazy talk. well, how about if i just send my bags on vacation, and i stay home? why do you charge for bags? for any bag out there watching this commercial right now... fly, be free. ♪ ( ding ) ♪ you can blow your nose but nothing comes out! because the real problem isn't always mucus. it's often swelling from inflammation. advil cold & sinus relieves swelling and sinus pressure. the right medicine for the real problem. advil cold & sinus
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going to burgertown, want anything? if they still have "the can my butt look any bigger meal," will you get me one? me, too. and i'll have "the extra tight pants combo." tom? how about "the feel so bloated i just wanna sleep for 3 days meal?" the same... and a bucket of "please keep your shirt on."
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in this cash-strapped economy, it's no surprise that do it yourself is in. but while we're keen to save money, some of us can be clueless when it comes to the task at hand. enter a new online guide with more than 100,000 helpful hints, and all at the click of a mouse. and for john berman that "is a sign of the times". >> step one, brush your teeth, floss and use mouthwash. >> what if i told you you could learn how to kiss with passion. arn how to change a tire. >> never get under the car when it's on a jack. >> even how to set up a backyard biergarten. now what if i told you you could learn this in one simple place. >> as a direct challenge to
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authority and he will rip your head off. >> one site actually. howcast.com. the infinite house of how. how many how-to videos have you guys posted? >> we have roughly 100,000 on the site. and that's a combination of content that we produced and aggregated with a variety of sources. >> we feel we're scratching the surface on that. there's so much stuff out there. >> i didn't know there was 100,000 things you could do. >> how to know what the referee is signalling when watching football. >> apparently, there are. they bethat one thing that people always need to know is how to do stuff. >> how to build a starship enterprise -- >> people are looking for all sorts of information. especially during the recession, more people are trying to do themselves. instead of hiring the plumber you might think, hey, i can do
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this. information on how to recognize the swine flu. how to understand the federal stimulus package. how to use twitter. so the range of possibilities for this type of information is enormous. >> how to dance your ass off. >> they have a system. keep the videos short, if possible keep them fun and keep them good. jason's twin sister darlene is in charge of the filming. >> i once saw a video on another site and it was how to sew a button and the guy's fingernails were disgusting and it was gross. i learned something but i didn't enjoy it. what's the point? like my goal is to find people who can take really mundane topics and make them extraordinary. >> how to turn your backyard into a biergarten. >> howcast invites aspiring actors to come on board and make their own videos. mark carbonaro turned an empty city garden into an extravaganza for his 90th howcast video.
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♪ >> it's way to make your name for yourself and howcast a way to keep things cheap. because one of the how's howcast cares a lot is how to make money. >> have apple strudel or black forest cake for dessert. >> so the extras in the how to make a biergarten is the employees. >> that's not a hard draw. >> they'll put anyone they can find into the videos. they corralled me into one called how to look manly while wearing makeup. >> you're doing an interview somewhere in a public -- there's a public bathroom and you're putting on makeup and people are looking at you like what are you doing exactly? i try to give them a look, of course i'm putting in makeup in the bathroom, what's your problem? >> though this video won't help,
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howcast expects to be profitable by next year. pretty fast for an internut -- internet start-up. >> if we have a video like how to get over jet lag, and the second is product placement, so on like how to make a margarita, maybe patron would pay us. >> how do the moonwalk. >> in most of the videos there's minimal narration so they're easy to convert into languages. if you walk down the street and see everywhere you look, you see a how-to video and you see a manhole cover, you see how to open a manhole. >> yeah, my friends are constantly telling me can we have a conversation where you do not mention a how-to video? that could be done out of whatever we're talking about? i can't. i'll try. >> i'm john berman for
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"nightline" in new york. >> looks like a how-to guide to a succsful website if you ask me. thanks to john berman. when we come back, tonight's "closing argument." ♪ they make little hearts happy... ...and big hearts happy too. because as part of a heart healthy diet,... ...those delicious oats in cheerios can help naturally lower cholesterol. (cheerios spilling) cheerios. how can something so little... ...help you do something so big.
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